Representing a Mother with learning and mental health difficulties

Michael represents a Mother in a case involving young baby who is the parents’ first child. Both parents have learning and mental health difficulties. There were pre-birth concerns regarding the parenting skills of both parents, their ability to prioritise their baby’s emotional needs over their own and to look after themselves and take care of their own needs. The baby was born with some health problems requiring a short stay in hospital following which the child was discharged into the care of both parents. However it soon became apparent that they were struggling to cope.

There were also concerns about the volatile and abusive nature of the parents’ relationship, resulting in a section 47 investigation, a child protection conference and the child being made subject to a child protection plan under the category of neglect.

Extended family members offered to help and support but this was it times a source of further conflict and difficulty for the parents. The Mother found it hard to bond with the child and the Father was not taking his required medication, resulting in him having a mental health break down, threatening self-harm and leading to further concerns about domestic abuse between the parents.

The parents agreed to the child being accommodated with foster carers. The local authority issued care proceedings. At the first hearing threshold was conceded, issues regarding contact were resolved and directions made for cognitive assessments of the parents to include capacity and the need for intermediaries and/or the involvement of the Official Solicitor